Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Saturday, May 22, 2010

Signaturae Apostolicae Referendarius

This morning it was announced that His Holiness Benedict XVI has appointed me a Referendarius (Referendary) of the Apostolic Signatura. As one of some dozen international consultants to the Church's highest administrative tribunal, it will be my privilege and responsibility to advise*, on an as-needed basis, the officials of that dicastery regarding matters impacting the administration of law and justice within the Church.

A number of persons have graciously conveyed their congratulations to me on this honor, and I am truly grateful for their kind words. But I want to underscore that I see this appointment not so much as an honor, but rather, as an invitation to serve more effectively the mission of the Church as the Speculum Iustitiae.

Even as I prepare, however, to place my training in canon and common law more readily at the service of the Church, I recall what Canon 1752 stresses, namely, that "the salvation of souls [is] the supreme law in the Church." Salvation is not, in the end, a work of law, but one of love. As such, it is a work toward which we all can, and must, contribute.

Ergo, oremus pro invicem! + + +

* It bears mentioning perhaps that (1) in canon law consultors express opinions only and do not enjoy decision-making authority over the matters presented to them, and (2) my opinions as a canonist carry only the weight of the arguments I adduce for them, or in other words, that in all matters, I speak only for myself and not on behalf of the Church.

Today's original announcement: "Il Santo Padre ha annoverato tra i Referendari del Supremo Tribunale della Segnatura Apostolica i Reverendi Sacerdoti Eduardo Baura de la Pena, Docente presso la Facolta di Diritto Canonico della Pontificia Universita della Santa Croce, e Paolo Giuseppe Bianchi, Vicario Giudiziale del Tribunale Ecclesiastico Regionale Lombardo; i Reverendi Padri Bruno Esposito, O.P., Docente presso la Facolta di Diritto Canonico della Pontificia Universita S. Tommaso d'Aquino, e Luigi Sabbarese, C.S., Decano della Facolta di Diritto Canonico della Pontificia Universita Urbaniana; l' Sig. Edward N. Peters, Docente di Diritto Canonico presso il "Sacred Heart Major Seminary" dell'arcidiocesi di Detroit."

The Apostolic Signatura is basically described in Canon 1445.

The general authority of the Apostolic Signatura is set out in John Paul II, ap. con. Pastor bonus (28 June 1988), AAS 80 (1988) 841-930, Artt. 121-125.

The current proper law of the Apostolic Signatura is found in Benedict XVI, m.p. Antiqua ordinatione (21 June 2008), AAS 100 (2008) 513-538. Referendarii are mentioned in Artt. 3, 4, 9, 10, and 22.